HARD ROCK

Char­lie Grif­fiths in­vites you to join him in the Deca­dence Dance and maybe learn some Nuno-in­spired riffs and licks along the way.

Guitar Techniques - - CONTENTS -

Char­lie Grif­fiths delves into the funky rock style of Ex­treme’s gui­tarist, Nuno Bet­ten­court.

Bos­ton-based band Ex­treme formed in 1985 and re­leased their de­but al­bum in 1989. Al­though it con­tained some great hard rock songs – Kid Ego and Lit­tle Girls, to name two – it didn’t quite pro­pel the band to su­per­star sta­tus. For the track Play With Me, gui­tarist Nuno Bet­ten­court bor­rowed a sec­tion of Mozart’s Rondo Alla Turca, which gave a hint of what a gui­tar ge­nius he was and also prompted the pro­duc­ers of Bill & Ted’s Ex­cel­lent Ad­ven­ture to in­clude the song in the movie’s sound­track, giv­ing the band a taste of world­wide ex­po­sure.

A year later the fol­low-up al­bum, Ex­treme II: Pornograf­fitti, was re­leased and the sin­gles More Than Words and Get The Funk Out ap­pealed to a wide range of fans. The sound of the band was in­flu­enced by Van Halen, but also ev­i­dent were the hooky riffs of bands like Led Zep­pelin, chord changes a la The Bea­tles – all pack­aged with the lay­ered pro­duc­tion and vo­cals rem­i­nis­cent of Queen. Ex­treme con­tin­ued their run of suc­cess in 1992 with III Sides To Ev­ery Story; a con­cept al­bum in three parts: Yours, Mine and The Truth. By the time the fourth al­bum Wait­ing For The Punch­line was re­leased in 1995, the band started to drift apart, Nuno go­ing on to pur­sue a solo ca­reer and even­tu­ally play­ing with Ri­hanna. In 2008 Ex­treme sur­prised ev­ery­one by re­turn­ing with the crit­i­cally ac­claimed Sau­dades de Rock, which was lapped up by the fans. The band cel­e­brated Pornograf­fitti’s 25th an­niver­sary by per­form­ing the al­bum in its en­tirety. This al­bum is an Aladdin’s cave of riches; the songs are full of in­tri­cate, funky, syn­co­pated riffs, which are all played with an ease and con­fi­dence that be­lies Nuno’s 24 years.

With the fol­low­ing ex­am­ples we look at th­ese dif­fer­ent aspects of the Nuno’s sound start­ing with a typ­i­cal driv­ing riff. Th­ese re­quire good hand syn­chro­ni­sa­tion in or­der for the le­gato and picked notes to flow.

Next, we look at a syn­co­pated riff in which the fo­cus is on the upstroke rather than the down­stroke. This off-beat feel gives the riff a bouncy funk­i­ness and also means that you can stay ‘in the pocket’ with the drum­mer.

Riff 4 is an ex­am­ple of how a phrase can move across the beat, while our fi­nal riff uses a re­peat­ing ‘dot­ted eighth-note’ de­lay to fill in ex­tra notes be­tween the played eighth notes to cre­ate a con­stant stream of 16ths with only half the ef­fort! Our fi­nal ex­am­ple is a solo fea­tur­ing a typ­i­cal Nuno two-handed tap­ping pat­tern us­ing string skipped arpeg­gios as heard in the so­los for Get The Funk Out and He-man Woman Hater.

Nuno Bet­ten­court plays bril­liant rhythm and lead

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